Looking ahead to the lunar calendar for 2024, there are 12 full moons which means there are twelve opportunities to see an incredibly rare phenomenon known as a moonbow.

Moon Phases

There are several phases that the moon passes through every 29.5 days - waxing, waning, full, and new. You likely already know that the moon is full when it reaches peak illumination and it is considered to be new when it is at its most dark. But what about waxing and waning moons? A waxing moon is the phase when the moon is moving from darkness to full illumination, or new to full. A waning moon is what we see when the moon begins to slowly go from full illumination back to dark or full to new.

Other Moon Terms

There are a couple of other terms you may have heard when it comes to referencing our lunar friend: gibbous and crescent. The moon is considered to be either a waxing or waning crescent when the moon is at only 50% illumination or less. Likewise, a moon is gibbous (waxing or waning) when it is between 50-99% illumination.

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The Mighty Full Moon

Because the full moon does not coincide with the manmade calendar, it does not happen at the same time every month. It's for this same reason that there are occasionally thirteen full moons in a twelve-month calendar year as we saw in 2023. For 2024 though we will only see twelve full moons.

Big Rock, Bigger Impact

The moon has a tremendous impact on our planet. The gravitational lunar pull affects the ocean tides, animal behaviors, and even human behaviors (ask any ER doctor or nurse about their jobs during a full moon.)

Moonbow
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Something Rare and Magical

There is a phenomenon known as a moonbow - it is exactly like a rainbow in the way rays of light are refracted in water, but it happens with moonlight instead. In the entire world, there are only two places that regularly and consistently produce moonbows. One of them is in Africa and the other is in Kentucky. In the middle of the woods, next to a waterfall in Kentucky, you can see this phenomenon!

Full Moon Dates for 2024

So when can you experience the magic of the full moon (and maybe even a moonbow too) in 2024? According to a Facebook post by Cumberland Falls these are the dates of the full moons, and their adjacent dates for potential moonbow viewing.

January - Full Moon, January 25, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 1/23 - 1/27

February - Full Moon, February 24, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 2/22 - 2/26

March - Full Moon, March 25, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 3/23 - 3/27

April - Full Moon, April 23, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 4/21 - 4/25

May - Full Moon, May 23, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 5/21 - 5/25

June - Full Moon, June 21, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 6/19 - 6/23

July - Full Moon, July 21, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 7/19 - 7/23

August - Full Moon, August 19, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 8/17 - 8/21

September - Full Moon, September 17, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 9/15 - 9/19

October - Full Moon, October 17, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 10/15 - 10/19

November - Full Moon, November 15, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 11/13 - 11/17

December - Full Moon, December 15, 2024. Potential moonbow viewing dates: 12/13 - 12/17

[Source: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park via Facebook]

LOOK: 23 astronomical events to look out for in 2023

Stacker compiled a list of 23 astronomical events to observe in 2023 using a variety of news and scientific sources. 

Gallery Credit: Martha Sandoval

 

 

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